And now for some baseball talk. CNNSI has released part 4 in their 5 part list of the top 75 prospects in MLB. The Dodgers, who had James Loney listed at #37, had 3 prospects in this list: Scott Elbert (#20), Andy LaRoche (#18), and Clayton Kershaw (#16). Billingsley and Kemp probably would be in the top 15, if not for accumulated playing time, and I suspect that Joel Guzman, now with the Devil Rays, will be in the top 15 The Dodgers also had a fellow named Josh Bell as an honorable mention.
What does all this mean? Nothing new -- we knew the Dodgers had a great farm system. The question is, of course, can they use it? The Dodgers managed to hold on to their babies in the off-season (so far), but Colletti's shown no ability to make quality trades with these guys. As one Dodger fan wrote into the LA Times, Guzman may end up hitting 500 home runs for another team. Few big bats are out there -- we'll take Adam Dunn -- but I would also rather see Kemp and Loney occasionally stumbling in the outfield than the certain mediocrity that is Juan Pierre and Gonzo. I, and every Dodgers fan, can only hope that Gonzo is hitting .220 on May 20, and he and the team are smart enough to know that "veteran presence" does not equal run production. Juan Pierre, on the other hand, may be tougher to get rid of. Barring major injury, his disgusting 5-year deal will make it impossible to bench him, even if he does spend most of his time on the pine, having returned there quickly after grounding weakly to short because he is, after all, a speed guy. That's what it's there for. But if the Angels can release Kevin Appier and swallow all that money -- what was it? 15 million? -- then we can do it with this guy when Colletti comes to his senses in mid-2009.
- Does anyone else besides Peter Gammons realize that Grady Sizemore was one of the top 5 players in baseball last year? He led the AL in extra base hits by the way.
- I like the Adam LaRoche for Mike Gonzalez trade for both teams. LaRoche is going to a park that's great for lefties, and for Jason Bay, marooned in the purgatory of Pittsburgh, this is the best he could hope for. Atlanta fans were already a bit tired of LaRoche, who was a GIDP machine and sometimes (quite literally) forgot when he was in the field. Gonzalez plus Rafael Soriano, whom the Braves stole from the Mariners (who have no clue these days), make for a sickeningly good bullpen. But if the Braves' right side of the infield is Aybar, Scott Thorman, and Kelly Johnson, where's the offense? Schuerholz knows what he's doing, and I won't be surprised if at least one of these guys comes up with a .280/.365/.480 season, which is enough given what's expected. Chipper must stay healthy, and Andruw will be mashing, smiling up at Scott Boras (looking down from the Death Star) every time he crosses home plate.
- We love Chase Utley. He's a top 20 player and deserves the money.
- J.D. Drew and Barry Bonds still have not signed their contracts, and we're happy for both of them.